What can I do to look after my eyes?

Over half of all sight loss is preventable, and can be influenced by lifestyle issues such as smoking, diet, exercise and alcohol.

Give up smoking

Smokers are much more likely to develop Age Related Macular Degeneration, which is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK, and Cataracts than non-smokers.

Find out about the help and support available to stop smoking.

Sight loss prevention

Diet and Exercise

You can reduce your risk of developing these conditions, which can lead to sight loss, by maintaining a healthy weight or by losing weight if you need to. Most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from eating a healthy and balanced diet.

Link to https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/looking-after-your-eyes/nutrition-and-eye

Drink within the recommended limits

Heavy alcohol consumption may increase the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration.

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

Keep tabs on your drinking with the Drinkaware alcohol tracker.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Getting out in the sun is important for your general health, but you have to be sure to protect yourself.

Never look at the sun directly, even when something exciting such as an eclipse is happening. Doing so can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight and even lead to blindness. Several studies also suggest sunlight exposure is a risk factor for cataracts.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV rays. The College of Optometrists recommends buying good-quality dark sunglasses – these needn't be expensive.

Look for glasses carrying the CE mark or the British Standard BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, which ensures they offer a safe level of ultraviolet protection.

The College of Optometrists' website has more information about how to look after your eyes